The regeneration of a significant wetland habitat on the floodplain between Bathurst and Kelso has received a boost thanks to the $45 million upgrade of the Great Western Highway.
With work on the highway upgrade from Kelso to Raglan starting to take shape, the Bathurst Brick Pits wetlands are also going through a remarkable transformation with earthworks in full swing.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the NSW Government is partnering with Bathurst Regional Council to remediate the former Bathurst Brick Pit quarry site into a wetlands habitat for birds, with more than 80 species identified at this location.
“The NSW Government is contributing $100,000 as well as Transport for NSW providing general fill from the Great Western Highway upgrade from Kelso to Raglan to help restore this site,” he said.
“This will benefit both the local bird population and the local community, with excavators starting their clean-up of the area.”
Mr Toole said the funding is for Bathurst Regional Council to complete stage one of the initiative which is described as an “innovative ecological project to enhance habitat for migratory and wetland birds at the Brick Pit Wetlands”.
“These wetlands cover about six hectares and are actually quite close to the Bathurst CBD and are located near Edgells Lane which runs off Hereford Street between Bathurst and Kelso,” Mr Toole said.
Stage one of the Brick Pits project includes works to excavate a deeper, open-water habitat zone and revegetation to reinstating this wetland habitat in the Macquarie River floodplain.
“This will improve habitat for migratory and threatened bird species that are already known to use the Brick Pit Wetlands in suitable conditions,” Mr Toole said.
“It will be an important first step towards the creation of swampy meadow and shallow marsh zones to provide a greater diversity of habitats.”
NSW Government funding is being used to carry out the excavation works, conduct erosion and sediment and top soil control works, and for planting of adjacent areas with native wetland species, as well as terrestrial species in the fringing vegetation areas.
Community planting days will be held to assist with revegetation works and provide education on the benefits of wetlands.
The Bathurst Brick Pits wetlands once comprised inter-connected pools and swamps which formed valuable habitat for wildlife, particularly waterbirds.
Bathurst Regional Council completed its acquisition of the wetland in mid-2017 and has been working since then to protect and restore the habitat.